The Harbinger Online

The Beatles Legacy


The plains of Kansas speeding by and all that can be heard is “Yellow Submarine”  blaring with shouts from my brother and I singing along. My parents flashing big grins to each other as they listen. After the song has repeated at least three times, my parents join in, remembering how they used to listen to the Beatles on the radio when they were little.

The Beatles reached the pinnacle of fame and broke up more than 20 years before I was born. Yet they still remain a part of our world wide culture today. They made their first American appearance on the Ed Sullivan show where they performed four of their songs including “All My Loving”, “Till There Was You”, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Last month, Feb. 9, marked the 50th anniversary of this group’s monumental U.S. debut.

Some of the most common components in the music world were influenced by the Beatles. They were the first to take the idea of music-film performances of songs, kind of how we see soundtracks now, and just used a video of their performance. In hopes to help ease their busy schedule, they decided to take this idea by just sending videos instead of appearances. Their first music video was for the single “Paperback Writer/Rain” in 1966. Music videos are now made for almost every song now. The music video is responsible for some of the most popular media today such as MTV and YouTube.

They also were the inspiration for FM radio, which is a major source for music . In 1968 music would for the majority of the time be on AM radio along with the talk radios. The problem was that they would only play music for three minutes which would decrease the chance of them broadcasting songs that didn’t fit the time frame. When “Hey Jude” came to the radio the company cut it off at three minutes when the song’s full length was nearly seven and a half minutes long. An FM radio worker named Tom Donahue, in hopes to take off his idea of putting music on FM radio, broadcasted”Hey Jude” at its full length. FM radio is where I listen to music on the radio and I couldn’t imagine not being able to listen to songs fully on the radio or a car ride where I’m not listening to the radio, that’s just something that is normal. Usually my mom and I disagree on the music that we listen too but, it doesn’t seem to matter what your age is to enjoy the Beatles. My mother has been a fan since she was a child and I love when we are able to enjoy the same music.

Before 1966, most of the albums that were released had songs selected by the record company and not the band. The Beatles, along with their producer created the first concept album, which is an album that has an overall main idea. Their overall theme for the album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was a concert in the park. Instead of the songs being released as singles before they were put into an album, all of their songs were released at the same time. Now concept albums are much more common in the music industry, such as Beyonce’s’ newest album, which was kept secret until it dropped on Dec. 3.

Recently, both Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney, the two remaining Beatles, performed at the Grammys. Even Yoko Ono, the late John Lennon’s wife, made an appearance. Any chance to see a Beatle performing is increasingly rare and I was happy to see them live. The new songs were different than the original Beatles lyrics, but still represent a lot of meaning.  I am probably one of many who would like to see these men perform not only their new material but their old classics on a more regular basis.

Given all their history, is it fair to say that the Beatles have been the best band of all time? In my opinion they deserve the title. Not very often do you see members of a band to be thought of as musical royalty by those who were fans when they controlled the radios in the 60’s and 70’s and also people in my generation as well. They have been a legend in their own time. That is a rare honor saved usually for only the biggest icons of history, that classifies The Beatles as such. They were such an amazing band that hopefully in the future on road trips with my kids, we will be blasting “Yellow Submarine”.

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